When I used to work at the mall, we were always assured that, no matter what, great coffee could be found just down the wing at Great Plains Coffee. This was a decade ago, and though I didn’t drink coffee at the time, I still appreciated it being there – right between Orange Julius and DEB, out in the seemingly abandoned Sears wing, where high rents didn’t quite live up to their promised traffic flow.
It was an oasis of local business amid a great sea of chains; a respite for the weary shopper, almost like a mirage. Even when a Caribou Coffee showed up, Great Plains Coffee continued strong.
But, it couldn’t last forever. Whether it was because rents reached a tipping point, or traffic slowed to a crawl, or the owners simply stopped feeling at home inside the expanses of The Empire Mall, Great Plains Coffee moved to a location further down the road. It’s since been replaced with a DirectTV retailer, the stall’s once warm interior swapped for the cold comfort of pegboard and molded plastic.
Frankly, I can’t think of anything else that better sums up the state of what malls have become.